Commissioner race: Stahla touts experience

By Sarah Pridgeon

Steve Stahla hopes to retain his seat on the Crook County Commission this coming election, partly as he finds the position fulfilling and partly to continue the work he has pursued over the last four years.

“I enjoy it and there are a lot of ways I think we can help the folks in our county – and we’ve got a lot more to do,” he says.

Aside from enjoying the opportunity to work with the people of this county, Stahla says it’s gratifying to make sure all the county employees and electeds have the money they need to do a good job. To facilitate this, he meets with the county clerk before budget hearings and county representatives to talk through their needs.

“With the help of the electeds and us, we’re functioning off three- and four-year-old budgets, they are right in the same money,” he says. “Everybody has tightened their belt, but we’ve shown it’ll work.”

As a team, Stahla believes the commission has done well keeping federal agencies in check, by, for example, making its opinion known on Endangered Species Act cases, and has created a good working relationship with local federal representatives. Stahla is also pleased the county has been able to continue investing in fire equipment.

“I’m pleased we got a county fire hall built at Oshoto,” he adds. “It was a collaboration of great volunteers and people donating their time and expertise and the county.”

Stahla appreciates that the county has been able to keep up on its infrastructure and has funneled money to the Road & Bridge Department to enable the best job possible with the roads.

“We can do better, try harder, but it all comes down to money and personnel,” he says. From roads to infrastructure and fire, these are goals Stahla would like to continue working towards.

“I would like to keep working with the fiscal part of it and make sure we maintain good service, doing what we can afford and not over-spending,” he says.

He would also intend to keep up with meetings of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association and legislature to stay current with what’s happening around the state, he adds.

“I represent you with common sense and fiscal conservativeness and I’m easy to talk to,” he says.

Over his years of public service, he says he has learned how to work alongside the public by being truthful and open to hearing ideas. “I love to communicate with the people I work for,” he nods.

Stahla and wife Bonnie have been married for 35 years and have two grown children. They moved to Crook County in 1994, where he worked for the Crook County Sheriff’s Office for two decades, most of those years as sheriff.

“I did not move to Wyoming to change Wyoming. I moved here because I liked how they did things,” he says.

Editor’s note: Current incumbent commissioner Jeanne Whalen’s candidacy announcement was not yet available but will be included in an upcoming issue.